3 Steps to Living Well
By Heather Wiese-Alexander
As an etiquette writer, the past year presented an overwhelming number of questions that had less to do with etiquette and more to do with simply living well. What seems to be the theme is this: society is craving a lifestyle upgrade. We are tired of the drama and we want to live fully and live well. With that in mind, a handful of gems gathered into focus. Here are three changes I’m taking on in the New Year—and I would love to do it hand-in-hand with you.
We say we need to, as we grab our phone for absolutely everything. Weather updates, what’s happening next weekend, what’s happening in 10 minutes, an article here, a text flash there. Notifications interrupt us constantly, as if each one were an emergency phone call. We did ok without all this information literally at our fingertips prior to the great invention. It’s time to get the habit under real control. This requires a commitment and a load of discipline. I’ve been toying with it, but I am fully committed to taking on the challenge. It will be different for everyone, but I have a plan outlined and I’m ready to make it real.
Brendan James is a great musician and dear friend. He and his band were at my house for a few days on tour as they were releasing an album called Simplify. One night, a discussion surfaced around getting rid of the extra things we don’t need. They were talking about the meaning of getting life to a simpler pace.
I suddenly became very aware of my obvious clutter—in the garage, in closets, kitchen cabinets. In the coming days that thought process extended into the full meaning of simplifying—physically and mentally. How many times do you look past that pile in the corner, that shirt you never wear, a drawer full of stuff that has just a few items you need in there and a bunch of clutter you don’t recognize? The problem: It takes time. And the bigger problem: It takes deciding to let go. Really, the latter is usually what stops us.
I have the targeted areas to unclutter in my sights. I have a weekend identified. I have travel to Europe planned for the same month. I have to admit, I’m actually more excited about the clean-out than the travel! It’s going to be beautiful, this cleaning-out process. I’m listing my guidelines for what stays and what goes before I get elbow deep and start wanting to make emotional decisions. Is anyone out there as excited to unclutter as I am?
3. Tap into Your Superpower
It is so easy to long for the things we don’t have—that hair, that gift for making a Pinterest-perfect cake (who can actually do that?), that gorgeous living room, that perfectly styled whatever-you’re-swooning-over thing. Here is the reality. We are all different. We are all talented in something. We all have a gift. The goal this year, if you don’t already know yours, is finding that out. It will require introspection. It may require asking one or two very honest friends or family members—people who won’t feed you fluff. When you find out what it is, remind yourself to use it. The trick is to keep it between you and yourself. Remind yourself with a note stashed where only you will see it. Telling others what you’re good at is useless. Simply live what you’re good at—and do it often! Love it. Enjoy it. USE it! Stop envying someone else’s gift. Your superpower is spectacular if you grab onto it and unleash it.
Embrace these three things and we will be on the road to living well. I look forward to hearing from you this year and to looking back in December to see what kind of questions defined 2017.